National Park Police Close Mt. Vernon, Feel Silly When Told It's Privately Funded

National Park Service officials blocked parking lots to George Washington's Mt. Vernon Estate and Gardens after the government shutdown this week. There's just one problem. The historic site is privately owned and funded.

Park police blocked the lots "due to a misunderstanding over the ownership of the spaces," according to Melissa Wood, Mt. Vernon's media director. Officials approached the park police and explained the situation. They then removed their barricades "as soon as they realized their mistake," Wood said.

The Park Service does maintain the Mt. Vernon parking lots, but the property is privately owned by the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Association. Neither the group nor the plantation receive any government funding.

Stephen Gutowski of The College Politico noted the incident and posted photos of the blockades to Twitter on Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon, Gutowski said that one of the parking lots was still barricaded, but Wood told The Blaze that the barricades were only up on Tuesday and taken down after three hours.

The Mt. Vernon website has also updated its homepage, confirming that the grounds are still open to the public. The page reads:

"We're open! No shutdown here. The Federal government may be shut down, but Washington's home remains open. Mount Vernon has remained a private non-profit for more than 150 years."

Several conservative commentators have voiced their displeasure with the NPS for trying to shut down Mt. Vernon.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]